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Chris Canuel

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Member Since: Aug, 2009

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My Adara
By Chris Canuel
Saturday, August 08, 2009

Rated "G" by the Author.

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This isn't really a complete story, but more of an exploration of either a book or a completed short story. Would love some feedback.

   “Wow, the rain is really picking up,” I whisper to myself. I can’t believe how hard it is raining outside. I have been in Mosul for almost 2 months and I have barely seen it even sprinkle, now it is nearing the status of a “torrential downpour”. 
   I had traveled to Iraq to assist in the building of schools. Right after seminary, I knew that staying stateside just wasn’t for me. I wanted to get involved, and truly reach out to those who haven’t yet had the full opportunity to hear the Word of God. I knew it would be a challenge, but I knew in my heart it was what God wanted me to do.
    I don’t remember a time not knowing God. I grew up in church. My father was a Pastor, and his father before him. I respected so much what they did, but I needed something different. I needed something more exciting, something less safe.
    The thought of going in to a predominately Muslim nation was both thrilling as well as frightening. I knew the environment might be hostile, but we were given the okay by all of the authorities, so I figured we would be fine. We went to help build schools, and pass out food, but were told specifically we were not allowed to proselytize the people. This was to be a humanitarian mission only. I wasn’t sure how I would respond, staying quiet about my faith was never easy for me, but I figured if I couldn’t spread the Word by mouth, perhaps I could spread it with my actions.
    I could never have imagined what my actions would be, or where they would lead.

    The workers and I had just begun working on our first school. The temperatures were unrealistically hot. Two of the workers fell sick on the first day. Most of the people seemed very appreciative of our help. Of course there were a few who were not happy to see Christians in their city, but they were not aggressive. You could just tell by the expressions on their faces they would be happy when the mission was finished, and we would be on our way.
    Normally those people who seemed less than thrilled to be hosting us didn’t stand around too long. They were content to cast a quick glance, perhaps mutter something under their breaths and keep moving.
    A few days in however I couldn’t help but notice a group of girls standing around watching us work.  I expected them all to move along as most of the people did, and a few of the girls did leave, but there were a couple that stayed around much longer than normal. I tried not to let them distract me, but it was hard. I felt as if they were looking over my shoulder, analyzing everything I was doing, perhaps even doubting my workmanship. It didn’t help that a couple of times I could hear them giggle.
    Every now and then I would look up to see if they were still there. When I did, I would give a polite smile and keep working. The first few times I did this, I didn’t really take notice of either of the girls, I thought it would be rude, and even perhaps inappropriate to make eye contact. Muslim men are very protective of the women, and I didn’t want to let anything get misconstrue d. After all, we were not exactly welcomed by everyone with open arms, and I didn’t want to cause any trouble for myself or the mission.
If only I had continued this tact.

The last time I looked up, I looked into the most beautiful brown eyes I had ever seen. Her face looked so soft, her skin so smooth. Every feature on her face was perfect. I could see only a bit of her hair under her hijab just above her forehead, but I couldn’t help but imagine how soft and beautiful her black hair was underneath. I’m still not sure how long I stood there staring at her, but I caught myself when I gazed down at her lips, and noticed them curl into an innocent, yet intoxicating smile. I began to feel uncomfortable, and turned away quickly. I tried to remember what it was I was doing before I had gotten distracted, but my mind was blank.
I almost frantically began stumbling around, looking for some tools. When I looked back to see if she was still there, she was gone.
    Over the next few days I found myself wondering if she would be back. I knew I shouldn’t. Even if she did come back, what would it mean? What would I do? I didn’t know, and honestly I wish I still didn’t.

    It was the hottest day since we had been in Mosul. It was just after Noon, and we decided it would be a good idea to knock off for a bit and rest. As we were gathering our tools, I walked around to the other side of the building to grab my water bottle. I bent down, to pick up my bottle when I heard the sweetest voice that has ever touched my ears.
    “Hello…”
    I don’t know how, but I knew it was her.
    “Hello,” I responded. I looked up and smiled. “Can I help you?” I asked.
I realized I sounded a bit rude, but she didn’t seem to notice.
    “I…I was just wondering. Why are you here?” She asked in a very thick Arabic accent.
    I was expecting her to smile back at me, but she didn’t. She was looking at me very intently, almost as if she were sizing me up. I knew I needed to choose my words carefully.
    “I’m just here to help. We are building a school.” I pointed to the building.
    Finally she smiled, “Yes, I can see you are building a school…” she paused, “but why are YOU here.”
    Her question caught me a bit off guard. I had to stop and think. Finally the words came, “I believe I’m suppose to be here.”
    She smiled, “You believe many things, but I wonder how much you really KNOW.”
    I wasn’t sure what to say. I wanted to say something, but no words came. She just kept smiling, and finally nodded her head. She turned and walked away.
   
  Her words turned out to be prophetic. As I stand here tonight, looking out my window waiting for Adara and praying that she will show up soon, I now realize how little I do know. I know I love her. I know I want her more than I have ever wanted anything in this world, and I know it is wrong.
    What I don’t know is what I will do when she arrives. I don’t know what will happen if her family finds out. What will happen if the authorities find out she is here? I don’t know what will happen to the mission. I don’t know what will happen to me. I don’t know what will happen with us. I don’t even know what I expect to happen with us. How can we ever be together? Will we ever be together? Why did I even tell her to meet me tonight? Why am I ignoring the real reason I came to Mosul in the first place. What is God thinking of me right now?
    I finally realize how little I know. It worries me. But then again, maybe it worries me even more what I do know. I still believe I am supposed to be here, but now my reasons for being here are completely different….
     

   
 


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